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Dieter Roth

Karnickelköttelkarnickel, 1972
organic matter (straw and rabbit droppings)
21.0 x 10.0 x 19.0 cm
The familiar-looking Karnickelköttelkarnickel (Bunny-dropping-bunny) imitates the silhouette and proportions of the famous Lindt chocolate Easter bunny, though it does not offer the same sweet taste. After having directly used real chocolate as a material since the 1960s, here Roth preserved an indirect link to his substance of choice.

Created in 1972 out of a mixture of rabbit droppings and straw, this fragile creature comes from a set of two hundred and fifty multiples produced in collaboration with Eat Art Gallery in Düsseldorf, a space conceived by Dieter Roth’s fellow Swiss artist and friend Daniel Spoerri, devoted to artistic research on comestible items.

Through the rabbit motif—a recurring theme in Roth’s iconographic repertoire— the artist draws attention to the animal’s consumption and excretion cycle, in order to more broadly evoke notions of creation and decomposition in art and life. Each time it is moved, Karnickelköttelkarnickel leaves behind a few crumbs of its volume, recalling the ephemerality of its composition.

The moldiness and evanescence of the organic and mineral materials used by Dieter Roth raise fundamental questions about conservation, and symbolize what is principally at stake in his objects. Although the artist has always liked the idea of confronting collectors with the disappearance of his creations, forty years later they continue to evoke his multidirectional work without having lost their essence. His work was constructed outside traditional categories through constant experimentation with the most unexpected materials, provoking surprise and, sometimes, mild disgust.
Dieter Roth, Karnickelköttelkarnickel, 1972